Sunday, June 15, 2014

App Review: Finally a free and safe way for telemental health practice

Telemental health practice is getting more and more recognition every day.  Studies are proving it's efficacy, more so if using video feed.  Although many practitioners want to get on the bandwagon, most don't know about legislations and regulations present in the United-States or in Canada.  The most comprehensive and complete legislation being the USA standards of HIPAA.   Being HIPAA compliant means having a program that is safe, secure and that has an audit trail.

Most practitioners and patients think that the popular videoconferencing platform, Skype, is safe, but in reality, Skype is not HIPAA compliant. I would recommend to you: VSee.
A free videoconferencing platform that is HIPAA compliant.  It also has many other advantages.  You can videoconference with many others at the same time, you can share windows and applications, you can transfer documents and it will work with low bandwidth, which means less drop calls and more reliable connection with your patients.

VSee works on Mac, PC, IPhone, IPad and now on Android phone and tablet.  This app changed my practice, give it a try, knowing that this is a safe way to practice telemental health.

For more information visit the VSee website [here]

Health Psychologist / Neuropsychologist
Follow on Twitter @Morettini_J and @PsychMobiletTech

Saturday, January 18, 2014

App Review: Cognitive behavioral therapy of anxiety with SAM

Anxiety disorders have a large spectrum of effects.  Excessive anxiety or pathological levels of anxiety is a very common complain in any mental health practice.  Pathologically high levels of anxiety will require specific therapeutic approach, but for all those patients who need light to moderate help; for all those patients who need a bit of guidance to explore for themselves there own problem in-between two appointments, this app might be a good solution.  

SAM app has been developed  in collaboration with a research team from University of the West of England, Bristol.  It is a CBT of the second and third wave approach that includes aspects of mindfulness.  It ask patient to recognize physical discomfort, emotions, thoughts and desire to avoid anxiogenic stimuli.  It will plot the self reports so you and the patient can observe the progress of the therapy.  SAM offers general but accurate information about anxiety.  It also offers lots of coping tools with many level of "difficulty": physical relaxation, mental relaxation, managing your thoughts, gradual exposition to the emotion or to the anxiogenic stimuli, offers general health recommendation and ways to stop avoidance.  You can choose what works best and build from that.  The app offers social cloud so you can share your thoughts in a forum.  After glancing over the posts, I would not recommend  this feature to my patients, and I would ask them to stay away from it.  It does not create any advantages and risks, actually, reinforcing thoughts of anxiety or despair. 

The other drawback is that this app does not seem to possess a password to access the app and all it's very personal content (thoughts, progress, etc.).  All in all, if your patient locks his mobile device, this app represent a serious tool for battling anxiety.

For more information visit the SAM website [here]

Health Psychologist / Neuropsychologist
Follow on Twitter @Morettini_J and @PsychMobiletTech


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

App Review: Bipolar disorder therapy with an App, a small revolution.

Bipolar disorder can create severe handicaps and impacts in a patient life.  Since bipolar disorder affects many rhythms like sleep, activity level, thought process or mood regulation, the traditional therapy works on regulating life on a daily basis.  Having a healthy portion of social activity, physical activity, sleep, or eating regularly are some of the ways to cope with bipolar disorder. Improving the regularity of rhythms has been a recognize tool, out of many, to treat bipolar disorder. Now comes the Moodrhythm app which is a traditional bipolar therapy tool but with some real novel advantages.  

The usual problem with daily paper diary of activity is that most of the time it will be incomplete. Forgotten here or there, to busy to do it, whatever the reason, the data recover from it will only be partial.  Using an app to input the data would be more easy since it's more mobile then a paper diary.  Still, patient could forget to enter the information in the app.  That's where Moodrhythm makes a difference.  It utilizes the on-board sensors of a phone to gather information on the patient's activity level . The sensors are: microphone, light sensors and accelerometer.  It helps to monitor sleep, mood, physical and social levels. To this, will be added the traditional daily diary.  Standard activities are built in to it, but you can add your own.  

Has security goes, the app doesn't record or listen in conversations.  It actually recognize variations in pitch, volume, speaking rate and other characteristics to measure emotional states level of the patient.  The accelerometer and light sensor combined will give information on sleep, rest or physical activity.  All that data can then be put to use for therapy by a mental health professional.  This app has been developed by Cornell University.  It's inventors have won the prestigious $100,000 Heritage Open mHealth Challenge for it.  Available on android and iPhone for free.  It was impossible to install on our android phones.  Certain bugs are in need of fixing.

For more information visit the Moodrhythm web site [here]

Health Psychologist / Neuropsychologist
Follow on Twitter @Morettini_J and @PsychMobiletTech

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Android App Review: Medical Abbreviations


So you're reading your patient medical file...  It's writen that your patient is " CCF, COPD, HTN with IDD that contributed to a CVI.  He is now taking Synthroid TID and Ativan IM PRN.  He is now T.S.T.H. " How will you establish the correct treatment plan if you can not understand the diagnostic?  The BBC repported that 5% of medical errors were related to abbreviations in the file that were not understood.  The inter-juge accor for an abbreviation in non-medical health professional is only 30 to 63%.  Enough to create a lot of confusion and mistakes.  This App will help you understand the medical abbreviations in English, but also their French, Spanish, German, Polish, Russian and Dutch version. 
For more information visit the Medical abbreviations website [here]
Jocelyn Morettini
Health Psychologist / Neuropsychologist
Follow on Twitter @Morettini_J and @PsychMobiletTech




Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Making learning accessible: on all platforms


Being neuropsychologist or psychologist you will have, at one point or another, to encourage your patients to learn new materiel.  A traumatic brain injury patient might have to learn the names and faces of its therapists, but could not.  A stroke patient might have aphasia or visual agnosia, and he would need cognitive remediation. Your patient with relational problems might need to remind himself of his maladaptive schema triggers.  The scenarios are endless, has there are subjects to be learned.

What Anki does for you and your patient is to give you a learning platform based on flashcards.  On one side you have the question, and on the other the answer.  Everything is customizable to your liking.  You can use text, picture, audio or even video on all flashcards.  You simply use the medium that is appropriated to the materiel that you want to learn.  Now, where Anki becomes a real innovative tool is in its capability to create statistics and different frequency of repetitions based on your learning curve.  Each time you answer, Anki will ask you to what level was it easy for you to get the it right.  According to that, the program will plot a recurrence frequency that will suit your needs.  You will also be able to distribute that frequency on a timeframe of your choice.  That is to say that you can learn intensively for a week or in your spare time over the next month, it’s your choice to make.

Anki is an open source program.  It can be used on a PC, Mac, Android, IPhone, Linux or web based interface.  All those platforms can be linked together by cloud computing.  So the learning you did on your Android phone, while you were on the move, can be continued at home on your PC. The only drawback for this App is that you cannot lock the access to the program (although you can lock your access to your account).  Many decks already exist and they are freely available.  You can also make and publish your own deck.   In the end not only your patients will use it, but probably you will also.

For more information visit the ANKI web site [here]

Jocelyn Morettini
Health Psychologist / Neuropsychologist
Follow on Twitter @Morettini_J and @PsychMobiletTech

Monday, November 5, 2012

Canadian brain injury center wants your used smartphone!

Dear readers,

Community Head Injury Resources Services of Toronto (CHIRS), recently launched a new and unique rehabilitation initiative called the cTech program that uses mobile technologies (e.g. iPhone, smartphones & tablets) to assist in acquired brain injury (ABI) rehabilitation. The program utilizes a host of strategies that range from group learning and peer mentorship to errorless learning to help clients make use of innovative technologies to compensate for their cognitive impairments.

As part of the initiative, CHIRS is giving away donated devices to persons with  an ABI enrolled in the program.

We are asking you to consider donating your used smartphones or tablets to the cTech program. Once the device is received, it will be inspected, cleaned and purged of private data. A letter will then be sent to the donor. A Canadian tax credit corresponding to the value of the device will then be issued before tax season.

Did you know that CHIRS originally known as the Ashby House, was the first community-based brain injury rehabilitation program in North America? CHIRS is a registered not-for-profit charitable organization that aims to improve the quality of life for people living with the effects of acquired brain injury (ABI).

The cTech program is proud to offer Memory-Link  pioneered by Dr. Brian Richards at Baycrest Hospital [watch the youtube video].

Please share this message with others!

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Sylvain Roy, C.Psych.
Clinical Neuropsychologist
Community Head Injury Resource Services
62 Finch Avenue West
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M2N 7G1
Tel: (416) 240-8000
ctech@chirs.com
 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

iOS app review: The therapy Outcome Management System

I recently discovered a cleverly designed iOS app designed to assess therapy outcome. The app is easy to use, secure and useful for monitoring a client's progress during therapy.

TOMS contains the Outcome Ratings Scale (Miller & Duncan, 2000), which looks at the client's well-being (overall, personal, family, and social) and the Session Rating Scale (Johnson, Miller & Duncan, 2000), which quickly evaluates patients' experience during a session (e.g., quality of the relationship, client-therapist fit, etc.).

The app is password protected and adequately organizes your client files. Client profiles are easily added, the questionaire are quickly administered, the rating scales are easy to navigate, and a graph allows you to see progress over time. An email feature is provided if you wish to export the data.

For more information visit the TOMS web site [here]
Download the app from the US App store [here] for $14.99

Sylvain Roy, Ph.D., neuropsychologist
Linked-In [profile]
Follow on Twitter @ PsychMobiletTech